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Romans

When in Rome IV

When in Rome IV

We return this year for a penultimate swing through Paul’s letter to the Romans. We’ve been working our way, chapter-by-chapter, through this monumental letter. And this year, we pick up where we left off last spring starting in chapter 9.

Romans is full of heavy theology, but underneath it all is the tender heart of a disciple who wants to communicate the story of Jesus. What is the “good news” of Jesus Christ? Why do people need to hear it? How can we experience it? What will it mean for our future? And what does Jesus have to do with our everyday lives?

It’s these fundamental questions that form Paul’s agenda in Romans—an agenda dictated by a combination of audiences, circumstances and purposes but always pointing us back to Jesus.


Chapter 1-8 Recap - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

We are starting our year four in Romans by doing a brief overview of the first eight chapters of the letter.

Bonus Material

For those interested, here is a more detailed breakdown of the major schools of interpretation when it comes to reading Paul.


Part 2 - The Sovereignty to Love - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

We are diving into chapter 9 to learn about Paul’s internal conversation with the Israelites and what the sovereignty of God looks like.

Bonus Material

One thing we have to keep in mind when reading Romans is that Paul does not experience the world through the same hyper-individualized lens we do. He experiences life through a much more communal set of categories.


Part 3 - The Righteousness Problem - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Our focus today is on what happens when God chooses us, and we defiantly choose to walk away.


Part 4 - Finding God Everywhere - John Van Sloten

Discussion Notes

Our focus today is on how God can be experiences through everything we see and do.

Bonus Material

Paul’s double entendre in Romans 11 reminds us that there is not such thing as a story that God has not been at work cultivating.


Part 5 - So What Now - Bobbi Salkeld

Discussion Notes

Today we wrap up our fourth series on Romans and discern how to move forward.

Bonus Material

We're finished with Romans until next year but we need to make sure we get Paul's heart. Good thoughts only get you so far. What really matters is how we live and love in community.


When in Rome III

When in Rome III

What is the “good news” of Jesus Christ? Why do people need to hear it? How can they experience it? What will it mean for their future? And what does the good news have to do with everyday life? These large and basic questions from Paul’s agenda in Romans—anagenda dictated by a combination of audiences, circumstances and purposes.

Two years ago we started into the book of Romans, working our way verse-by-verse through the letter. This year, we pick up where we left off and keep moving forward into chapters 5 to 8.


Romans ch1-4 Recap - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Paul went from persecutor and supporter of violence against the Jews to leader and evangelist of the budding new Christian church. It was not a smooth transition, and his personality still remained, but we can see that Paul was welcomed into a transformative relationship with Jesus and it forever changed him and the world.


Romans 5:1-11 - Joel Braun

Discussion Notes

In this chapter is the famous verse about rejoicing in suffering because suffering produces perseverance, perseverance; character, and character; hope. We spent time talking about how true hope is formed from our character that is made stronger by persevering through suffering. God rebuilds us, remakes us, and renews our hearts and minds into new versions of ourselves that have access to this true hope.


Romans 5:12-21 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

In the second half of this chapter, Paul goes on to say that despite the sin and brokenness present in and all around us, there is hope and healing available to us through Christ. Everything has been marred by sin, but at the same time, everything is being reconciled to God.


Romans 5:20-6:18 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

This week, as we moved into chapter 6, we saw how Paul explores the relationship between grace, and how we live in the world. Paul uses baptism to describe leaving our old life behind to move onto something new. And this process of leaving— of leaving behind old habits, harmful tendencies, and things that pull us away from love— this is only significant if we are also moving towards faithfulness. And, although death and pain is still present all around us, we can know that death is not all that it claims to be.


Romans 6:23 - 7:25 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

This story of grace changes everything. But the question is, how do we live as if we are freed from sin when sin surrounds us? This is the tension that Paul leans into as we continue into chapter 7. This section of Romans shows us a side of Paul we may be unfamiliar with— someone who is frustrated, and confused, and distressed. However: despite all of Paul’s frustration with himself, we see that he holds onto the hope that God is fundamentally committed to saving us from the worst of ourselves. Our choices have consequences, but God is on our side, always.


Romans 8 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Paul's big idea in chapter 7 was that God gave us the law to show us what’s good, but the law can’t help us do what’s good— only love can do that. Now, in chapter 8, Paul explores big ideas about how God plans to redeem all of creation. God’s sovereignty is expressed in both the divine redeeming action in the world around us as well as in mysterious love. God never causes our pain— but he never leaves us alone in it.


Romans Pt II

Romans Pt II

What is the “good news” of Jesus Christ? Why do people need to hear it? How can they experience it? What will it mean for their future? And what does the good news have to do with everyday life? These large and basic questions form Paul’s agenda in Romans—an agenda dictated by a combination of audiences, circumstances and purposes.

Last year we started into the book of Romans and worked our way–verse by verse–through the opening two chapters. This year, we pick up where we left off and keep moving forward.

As Luther said:
[Romans] is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes”


Romans ch1-2 Recap - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Paul has a history as a fundamentalist zealot Pharisee who has a radical encounter with the story of Jesus that changes everything for him. This same Jesus reveals the faithfulness of God - that God never for a moment intended to leave us on our own. And that because he loves us so deeply he is fiercely committed to the destruction of all that destroys us.


Romans 3:1-8 - Scott Wall

Discussion Notes

Paul starts chapter three with a few rhetorical questions. The first inquires what advantage there is in being Jewish given that everyone has a capacity for grace…and everyone thinks he’s going to say ‘Nothing!’ But he doesn’t. He asserts that the Jews have every advantage because they’ve received the oracles of God… that God has long been revealing himself. And this idea should give us pause, and encourage us to reflect on how God has been at work in our stories. How we have encountered His persistent and yet tender pressing into our lives.


Romans 3:9-20 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

In these verses, Paul weaves together some poetry from the Psalms about the sinfulness of all of us and that inevitably every embarrassing thing we allow out of our mouths started in our throat, was formed with our tongue, was passed through our lips, and at every moment along the way - we could have stopped it…


Romans 3:21-26 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

For Paul, salvation is not just a transaction between you and God - where you believe the right things and he saves you because of it. No, for Paul salvation is a dynamic relationship where you come to understand that God is faithful to you and you learn to trust him or believe in him because of that faithfulness.


Romans 3:27-31 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

The whole jewish story is not that God gave them some rules and they followed them really well and God loved them for it. In fact most of the Jewish story is about how they were terrible at following the rules and they kept getting themselves in trouble and they kept crying out… and God still kept rescuing them. The entire national story of Israel was “God loved us first; that’s why we follow him. And now Paul is saying that because Jesus has come and finally been faithful to the story of God in a way that no Israelite was ever able to do - even to the point of giving his life for others - that the Old Testament story has been completed and expanded to all peoples the way it was always meant to be.


Romans 4 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Paul uses the story of Abraham from Genesis to make a series of arguments that help make his point. It is fascinating to see how Paul thinks, especially when he reads the Hebrew scriptures, because Paul is going to make 5 argument for why the story of Abraham was always meant to point to Jesus.


Audio

When in Rome: Year One

When in Rome: Year One

What is the “good news” of Jesus Christ? Why do people need to hear it? How can they experience it? What will it mean for their future? And what does the good news have to do with everyday life? These large and basic questions form Paul’s agenda in Romans—an agenda dictated by a combination of audiences, circumstances and purposes.

The salvation issue, with all its various facets, was at the center of the early Christian movement as it sought to defend itself over against both Judaism and paganism. Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians in Rome had very different opinions on these matters. So Paul uses his rhetorical skill to tackle such fundamental theological issues with such a deft touch that it the letter to the Romans it has left an enduring and vital contribution to Christians’ understanding of who they are and what they believe.

As Luther therefore said:
[Romans] is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes.

To do justice to the scale of Romans we will be spreading it out over the next few years.


Romans 1:1 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Paul introduces himself as both a slave and an apostle. It is a profound awareness of both humility and divine purpose all at the same time.


Romans 1:2-6 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Even as Paul is about to launch into his letter to the Romans, one of the great theological treatise of the Christian tradition, he begins by very simply laying out how he understands “gospel”. And at its core, gospel for Paul is not an intellectual enterprise, it is, very simply, the story of Jesus.


Romans 1:7-15 -Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

There is a radical reinvention of humanity that Paul imagines in Jesus. When someone else’s win can become your celebration; when serving another — becomes a blessing for you; when we learn to see others as brothers and sisters and mothers and friends; and finally recognizing that we won’t find peace by beating, or defeating, or measuring yourself against anyone else.


Romans 1:16-32 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

God’s righteousness and wrath are two sides of the same coin; righteousness is the active posture that we see in God’s faithful pursuit of us, wrath is the passive posture where God finally, allows us to walk away - but this is not some angry, vindictive, vengeful God - it is wrath because God is angry when he sees sin damage and hurt and disconnect us from the source of life…


Romans 2:1-4 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

The fixation we have to scapegoat, to shift the focus and point at others; this desire we have to say: “we are better than them” - what this does is short circuit the redemptive work God wants to do inside of us. That instinct to shift the focus is part a self preservation mechanism that comes from your old self that does not want to be changed.


Romans 2:5-29 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

In regards to faithfulness - Paul says that the question is not whether you are good enough - the question is: when you jump, who are picturing there to catch you?